Ensemble Theatre celebrates civil rights giant Thurgood Marshall
What better way to celebrate Black History Month than to spend the evening with one of the country’s pre-eminent Black Americans: Thurgood Marshall. Through Feb. 22, Ensemble Theatre presents “Thurgood,” which the Baltimore Sun called “one of the most frank, informed, and searing discussions on race you will ever see.”
Written by George Stevens Jr., “Thurgood” is a one-man show depicting the life of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American justice of the Supreme Court, and his role in the historic decision in Brown v. Board of Education that outlawed segregation in public schools.
Stevens is a multiple award-winning author, playwright, director and producer. He is the founder of the American Film Institute, creator of the AFI Life Achievement Award and producer of the Kennedy Center Honors. Since 2009, he has served as co-chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. He has received many honors, including 17 Emmys, eight Writers Guild awards, two Peabody Awards, the Humanitas Prize and an Honorary Oscar.
Greg White, who plays Marshall, was last seen at Ensemble in the role of Meyer Wolfsheim in “The Great Gatsby.” Earlier this season, he played Chris Christopherson in “Anna Christie,” a performance for which the Cleveland Critics Circle awarded him a Superior Achievement award, and ranked him one of the top four actors in Cleveland in 2014. White’s other recent roles include Rawl Cheeks in “No Niggers, No Jews, No Dogs,” Paul in Karamu's “Cut Flowers,” and Doug in “Dividing The Estate.”
Director Sarah May has a long history with Ensemble. She served as education director for the company and directed many memorable productions, including “The Normal Heart,” for which she was named Best Director by the Cleveland Critics Circle in 2012.
May’s work as a director of local productions is well-known. After spending 10 years in New York City performing, directing and developing educational programs for Playwrights Horizons, Henry Street Settlement, and The Roundabout Theatre, May returned to Cleveland to serve as director of education for Great Lakes Theatre Festival, where she developed their Shakespeare School Residency Program, and as director at Karamu Theatre from 1990–97. May has taught acting at The Cleveland Play House and Tri-C Metro, and been a guest artist at Baldwin-Wallace College.
Performances of “Thurgood” are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors and $12 for students with a valid ID. To purchase tickets, call the Ensemble box office at 216-321-2930, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your name, phone number, date of performance and the number of tickets.
Jewel Moulthrop is a Cleveland Heights resident and member of the Heights Observer's Editorial Advisory Committee.